For many years Apple and their iOS operating system dominated the mobile world. They were the first ones after all; first with smartphones and their iPhone device, and then with tablets and their iPad device. Of course, Microsoft had been there many years before with tablets and there were also several forerunners to the smartphone, but these were nowhere near as good, nowhere near as powerful and, ultimately, nowhere near as popular as what Apple produced.
Other companies jumped on the bandwagon after Apple gained a stranglehold on the market. Many of these used the Android operating system, which is based on Linux and developed by Google. In fact, Google also created their own tablets, which included the Nexus range, but it was Samsung who really used this operating system to its full potential, challenging Apple and iOS like never before.
Apple still have one of the largest market shares of any company, but when you compare iOS to Android then the figures are actually heavily in favor of the Google operating system. In the summer of 2014 it was reported that the total marketshare owned by Android was around 80%, a number that has steadily grown since. This means that for every 100 smartphone and tablet owners in the world, around 80 of them own an Android device, the biggest share of which is owned by Samsung and their range of devices that include the S series, the Note series and the Tab series. There are others as well, including BlackBerry and Windows, along with many smaller names selling cheaper alternatives, but it is iOS and Android that lead the way.
In 2014, for instance, Blackberry’s share was less than 1%, whilst Windows’ share of the market amounted to 3.5% in total. Blackberry actually had a much greater share of the market at one point in time, and their devices were very popular with business users, but that faded and they struggled to stay in touch with the bigger names. Windows were more or less non existent in those early days, even though they can lay claim to being the inventors of the Tablet PC, but their share is one that will almost surely climb in the coming years. In fact, the 2018 estimate puts their share of this market at almost double what it is now, whilst Blackberry’s share will be significantly less, with very few users hanging onto their Blackberry devices.
As far as the battle between iOS and Android goes, estimations by the IDC have calculated that both of these operating systems will enjoy a smaller share of the market than they do now in 2018. The drop in percentile is much greater for Android than it is for iOS, but not when you consider that they have a greater share of the market to begin with. In fact, taking all of the future estimates into account, with iOS, Android and Blackberry dropping, whilst Windows Phone increases, it seems that the future of smartphone and tablet operating systems might well lie with Microsoft and with the Windows OS. This is quite apt when you think that they were one of the first to create a mobile operating system way back when the world simply wasn’t ready for one.
These are just estimations though and nothing is set in stone. It does seem likely that Windows will increase their share, as they have huge wealth behind them, along with respect and knowledge in this industry. They have also led the way when it comes to operating systems for over 2 decades, so it seems like it will just be a matter of time before more of us start using Windows phones. It is also safe to assume that Android will still be leading the way in 5 and even 10 years. Their current share of the market is far too big, and unless disaster strikes, then they should be able to hold onto that. What is harder to estimate though is what the future will hold for Apple and the iOS operating system.
Currently this operating system, and Apple devices in general, are seen to be top-end. They are often purchased by those who make a little more money, have a little more expendable income every month. If this remains then they will be limited in how much of the market they can target, and unless the market significantly shrinks in size, with others losing out whilst they maintain their standing, then it seems very unlikely that they will ever lead the way again.
Simply put, although Apple and iOS are often said to be the best and the first, the future of this industry is almost certainly not with Apple, but could easily be with Android, or even with the giants that are Microsoft, and their increasingly popular Windows Phone operating system.